Los Angeles News

West Nile virus up in LA; experts warn residents for holiday weekend

Friday, August 31, 2012

The West Nile virus is flourishing in Southern California. The Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District confirmed 26 new positive mosquito samples in the area, one of them on Bellfield Way in Studio City.

Homeowners there were already nervous. Two neighbors on the street, Javin Reid and Debbie Davis, are infected with West Nile right now.

"We have no idea how many others could be infected, including myself, my family," said Amy Diamond, who lives on the street.

There are 56 human cases statewide. Though the virus isn't considered an epidemic like it was last year, the recent stats are still alarming to vector control personnel.

"Pretty much all of Los Angeles County has lit up in the last week, we've had a lot of virus activity," said Truc Dever with vector control.

Public health officials are urging mosquito bite prevention this hot Labor Day weekend. Avoid outdoor activities at dusk and dawn. If you notice standing stagnant water near your home, get rid of it or report it. If you're going to be spending time outside experts also suggest buying yourself some mosquito repellent with an EPA active ingredient like DEET.

"As long as there's hot weather and there are mosquito present, it's very possible that West Nile virus can amplify," said Dever.

Vector control also discovered a positive sample of the virus in Burbank, where Arman Karadalyanand his children played at a park Friday.

"I have no problems for myself, but of course for the children, they're more sensitive," he said.

West Nile also affects animals. So far statewide, more than 900 birds have died and some farm animals like chickens and horses can also be infected.

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